How To Help Baby Sleep Through The Night
Ten Point Plan for Success
• Keep a sleep diary for a week before you start.
• Agree your goal. Sleep all night long? Go to sleep on his own? Stay in his own bed all night?
• Agree your method: cold turkey/controlled crying/kisses/gradual withdrawal/other.
• Agree exactly how you will do it: what will you say?/How will you say it?
• Agree who will do it: taking turns every night/one night off – one night on. If you are a lone parent, ask a friend or your mother to help.
• Tell the neighbours what you are doing.
• Explain the programme to your child if appropriate.
How To Help Baby Sleep Through The Night Photo Gallery
• Pick the right time: start the programme when you can afford to be more tired than usual, or can go to bed earlier than usual, when there are no other changes in your baby’s life, and no one is ill.
• Keep a record and talk about it to each other or to someone else you trust.
• Try for at least three nights.
And … enjoy your sleep, and a happy child in the morning, eventually!
Sleeping at the Wrong Time
The behaviour management approach can also be used to solve sleeping problems caused when your baby sleeps at the wrong time of day.
Late Bedtimes and Late Risers
Late bedtimes and late wakings are common among children and adolescents. They can also occur as part of other sleep problems in younger children. It is tempting to allow a child who has a late bedtime to sleep late in the morning, so that you can have some time to yourself. But if you would like your evening without your child, then you will have to adjust the time he gets up. Very few children sleep for 14 hours at a stretch.
The easiest way to do this is to wake your child a little earlier every morning so that his night is cut short and he is ready for bed at an increasingly early time. Begin by allowing him two more days of late bedtimes but without any attempt to bring them earlier. Make a record of when he wakes. The morning after the third night, wake him 15-30 minutes earlier than he woke the previous mornings. Do this for the next three days as well, bringing the waking time earlier by 15-30 minutes each day without changing the bedtime.
Once your child is having 45 or 60 minutes less sleep than usual each night, start to make bedtime 15-30 minutes earlier each night. At the same time continue to wake your child progressively earlier until he is getting up at a convenient time. Once you reach the preferred waking time, stick to it every day, even at weekends, for the next few months until the pattern is firmly established. The same goes for bedtime.
During this programme your child will be mildly sleep deprived. Try not to let him nap during the day any more than normal or he will not be ready for bed by the right time.
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